New kink brand on the block Fetish Daddy, caught our eye with their stance on diversity and creating inclusive fetish gear. In this interview, Ollie, Master of Fetish Daddy tells how this London based brand came to be.
What fetish means to you?
Fetish has helped me find some incredible friends within a community I feel safe to be myself in, and it's one of my favourite things about running Fetish Daddy. We have a rule of no judgement of anything anyone comes to talk to us about, nor between those of us who work in the studio - it makes for a very comfortable place to work, so we can put all energy into the designs and not into stress or anxiety!
The more people I talk to and learn what turns them on in the fetish world, the more things I discover make me horny.
What has your journey within the gay fetish scene been like?
I met my now-husband, Liam, nine years ago, and I was impressed with my self-restraint that we didn't shag until the second date! I found out a tonne about him in the four dates we had in that first weekend. He owned some neoprene, and we experimented with some more leather and eventually, a few months later, rubber, but most importantly, he smelled incredible!
We've now been to more fetish events than I can remember over the years and had a lot of fun, though we often both have self-confidence and body issues when we go out, and it sometimes takes a lot to get past that and have fun. The social side of going to a fetish event has become such an essential part of an evening out to us, and often if we are wearing one of our creations, it seems to be a real conversation starter with new people coming over to chat.
It's not all been smooth sailing, though - we have had people tell us that some of what we make isn't 'fetish'. If I'm wearing a garment, it's my fetish, and no one else to comment on - it was a comment like that that ended up with Liam making a stand and making an 'Emoji Ghost' latex top for a night out!
How did Fetish Daddy come about?
Two years ago, I had a rather nasty motorbike crash, badly broke my leg (narrowly missing an artery) and dislocated my shoulder. My recovery would take a while, and I was offered a small settlement to leave my job; I didn't know what I was going to do, but I knew the £90.04 a week they offered me as sick pay wasn't the solution! A friend of mine showed me a leather belt he had made from some bit he had bought at a local leather shop, and I was intrigued. We had just purchased a puppy, and I decided to get some offcuts and teach myself leatherworking while I recovered. On the first day, I had made both our dogs new leather harnesses. People in the park loved them and wanted to buy them - as you can imagine, it wasn't long before guys were saying, "if you can make one for a dog… can you make me one?"
I started Fetchish Ltd - thinking it was a play on the word fetish and fetch… sadly Google thought we were a spelling mistake, and no one could work out what we were called in a loud club. So, like Gretchin Weiner, we stopped trying to make Fetchish happen, and Fetish Daddy began! The fantastic guys at Manchester Leathermen asked us if we would like a small stall at their market for the 2019 weekender. Liam and a good friend Matt drove up with me. I've been in many high-pressure situations for work before, but I've never been so nervous in my life - what if people hated what we had made? What if no one bought anything?! When I sat down and worked out what sales we had made, I cried a little; people had bought stuff, a lot of stuff. Later that evening, this hot Irish bear came up to me in The Eagle and said, "I hear you're the new kids on the fetish block and what you're making is amazing!" I'll never forget how good that moment felt.
You also teach workshops on how to make different types of gear; what inspired you to do this, and what can people expect from participating in one?
As the old saying goes: "If you give a man a latex top, he might get laid that night, but teach a man to make his own latex gear, and he will get laid forever!" Liam and I started doing this from the moment we started the company; in our eyes, the fetish community is a creative community. Not everyone can afford to buy new gear - so why not teach people to make their own.
I often get asked if I'm worried that I might teach someone, and they go on and start a rival company. If we teach anyone well enough that they went on to start a company - I would see that as a MASSIVE compliment! Competition is good, creativity is fantastic, and teaching courses is a great way to see some incredible new gear on the scene that doesn't cost the owner the earth, mostly just their time!
What gear do you enjoy making the most?
I love anything that's a challenge, and nothing gives me an emotional buzz, like someone posting online how much they love something we have made for them because it means we did our job right!
One of my passion projects was to design a harness that anyone could wear, but that would also be great for any of our trans customers who may wish to hide their scars after top surgery - we ended up coming up with three that work well for this, the Logan, the Rocco and the Dolf. The Logan and Rocco were modelled for us by Jacub when we did our second shoot for our new website in Manchester last year.
How are you looking to build and develop your work?
When we started the company, we designed a small range of leather harnesses based on simple, beautiful craftspersonship and fantastic quality. While our designs have progressed as we have learnt new skills and new products added to the range, the ethos remains the same. We want to develop as a company known for quality, fantastic customer service, and inclusivity. I never dreamed we would come this far in a year and a half, especially given most of it has been in a pandemic. I can link this to the passion and drive shared between myself, Liam and the fantastic team members I work with - all of whom were friends to start with and had little experience, just a creative spark and a passion for learning something new. It also helps hugely that our customers are so passionate about the gear we make for them.
We have developed so much over the last year and a half; I can't even imagine where we will end up when the travel ban ends, and people can come and visit us! We have made it through the pandemic with webcam measure ups and fittings - which at least means outside of a pandemic; we can still be a global small business!
Wherever possible, when a customer orders a bespoke item, we include a short photoshoot with the AMAZING Matt Spike - he has an incredible talent at getting the best out of anyone, however nervous or experienced at modelling. What I've loved about this is that for the most part, our models are our customers because they are modelling something made for them, that they know they look good in, there is a passion that comes through in the photos. I can't wait to do a LOT more of this once lockdown is over!
What fetish plans do you have for the future?
Like everyone, I'm gagging to go to a fetish event again, meet some new people and have some fun! I'm crossing everything that Folsom Berlin happens this year, and really looking forward to Rubbermen of London in August!
Work-wise, I feel like the answer to this question is straight from Pinky and the Brain "The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to make the world a horny place!" Whatever you're into, whatever shape, gender or skin tone you are, we want to make you feel HOT and have a lot of fun doing it!
I have been using the hashtag #FetishForEveryBody for a while now - if you look at many fetish sites, you would think everyone in the fetish community is 98% ripped, white men - one visit to an event will show otherwise. We will be continuing with our use of as diverse a range of models as possible, hoping that we make everyone feel comfortable to come to us with their fetishwear ideas and make them feel as sexy as they look! I also hope we are starting to embarrass some other companies into being more inclusive!